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[273] followed; we did not go fast enough — that was unfortunate; but it would have been more unfortunate to have left 10,000 men on the slopes there. If Meade had lacked the great moral courage to say “retreat,” after having been called “timid” by the papers, and having been hounded on by Halleck and Stanton to “do something,” he would not only have got a disastrous defeat, but would have destroyed the plan of re-enlistments by which we obtained the very backbone of our army for this campaign. His “timidity” lies in this, that he will not try to build a house without enough of tools and timber. Lately, they have turned round, 180 degrees, and now call him “butcher” ; but that does just as well — blow hot, blow cold. This is a fair statement. I don't say he is Napoleon, Caesar and Alexander in one; only that he can handle 100,000 men and do it easy — a rare gift! Also, as Sherman and Sheridan, commanding the two other great armies, have been made regular Major-Generals, he too, who is doing his part, and has fought more than both of them put together, ought to have equal rank.1 General Grant, as far as I can hear, thinks everything of General Meade, and it is said will have him promoted like the others. I believe it will turn out that Sherman is our first military genius, while Sheridan is most remarkable as a “field fighter,” when the battle is actually engaged. Bless my soul! quelle lecture on my commanding General! Never mind, variety is the spice of life.


November 18, 1864
Warm it is this morning — too much so; I would prefer it frosty, but remember the farmer whom Jupiter allowed to regulate the weather for his own farm, and who made


1 Meade was then a Major-General of Volunteers.

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November 18th, 1864 AD (1)
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